Thursday, November 20, 2008

Health insurance industry sees writing on wall

From Washington Monthly here (via Talk Left).

BRINGING ALL THE HEALTHCARE PIECES TOGETHER.... Following up on Hilzoy's overnight item, momentum for major healthcare reform in the next Congress got a little stronger yesterday, when the health insurance industry said it would support extending coverage to everyone, in exchange for a healthcare mandate for all Americans. Given the insurance industry's role in helping kill the Clinton plan 15 years ago, this is obviously an important development.

Hilzoy noted that the mandate is clearly the right policy, so the insurance industry's demand is arguably a positive development. But then there's the politics -- while the Clinton/Edwards approach included a mandate, Obama's campaign plan didn't. Is this a problem? I doubt it. For one thing, I suspect Obama would be thrilled to have external forces force his hand on this. . . .

From the Wall Street Journal article mentioned in the post (emphasis added):

On Wednesday, the insurance industry's Washington trade group issued a statement saying it could accept new rules requiring companies to cover sick people, as well as healthy ones, as long as all Americans were required to have insurance, with subsidies for those who need them. The declaration by America's Health Insurance Plans is a switch from the industry's long-time opposition to rules that bar the common practice of weeding out customers who are likely to rack up too many bills.

(You may wonder why these companies are in the health care business to begin with if they refuse "to cover sick people." (Emphasis added.) What's the point of having private companies involved in our health care if they can't afford to pay benefits for sick people? It's insane.)

At any rate, the question now is: At what cost--to pay all those expensive executives and their duplicative bureaucracies? Single-payer is still the way to go. Someday...

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